Cape Town – Suspended African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Ace Magashule’s legal representative, Lawrence Hodes claimed on Tuesday that his client’s arrest was influenced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
According to Times Live, Magashule is facing a raft of charges including corruption, fraud and racketeering in connection with a R250 million asbestos eradication tender awarded in the Free State during his tenure as premier.
Hodes characterised the case as “politically motivated and unsustainable”, reported News24.
He argued that it was only after Ramaphosa’s renewed vagour on the step-aside rule that his client was suddenly arrested.
The ANC adopted the step-aside rule during its national conference in Nasrec in 2017. The rule dictates that ANC members facing corruption or criminal charges should voluntarily step aside from their positions and further states that members should be summarily suspended should they fail to step aside on their own accord.
Magashule himself made the point in his heads of argument that it was Ramaphosa who might have pressured the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to act against him so as to have a case for him to step aside from the powerful secretary-general position, the report said.
However, prosecutor advocate Naseer Cassim said the buck stopped with Magashule as the premier of the province, and he had to answer as to why a contract for about R20 million ended up costing the province R255 million. He said Magashule had failed to report a crime.
The court has reserved judgment until April, Sunday Times reported.
Should Magashule lose his bid to have his case struck off the roll, his corruption trial will resume in June.
Compiled by Sinothando Siyolo